LADY ‘NOLES STOP ENTERPRISE, BUT CAN’T SCORE ENOUGH TO WIN
By Parrish Alford
JACKSON The Smithville Lady Seminoles did the things they had to do defensively to win at the Big House. The problems came on offense.
The Lady Seminoles gave the ball to Enterprise-Lincoln with 26 turnovers, losing 26-23 to the Lady Yellow Jackets in the Class 1A Mississippi girls tournament Wednesday.
“It wasn’t jitters or anything like that,” Smithville coach Jason McKay said. “We win with defense, we know that. We limited our opponent to 26 points, and we did not score enough points to win the game.”
The Lady Seminoles (22-11) scored almost one-third of their points in the game’s first three minutes. A bank shot by 6-foot-2 sophomore Monica Blaylock and a 3-pointer and layup by freshman Amanda Murray had Smithville up 7-0 before Enterprise’s Demetric Smith penetrated with 4 minutes, 55 seconds left in the first quarter.
The Smithville lead was eight points, 16-8, with 5:27 to go in the first half, but the Lady Seminoles managed only a Rachel Sargeant free throw the rest of the way. Smithville had a 17-13 lead and 14 turnovers at halftime.
“Our scouting report on them told us to press them,” Enterprise coach Billy Vaughn said. “If nothing else we wanted to wear them down, and I think that was a factor.
“That’s our game plan anyway, whether full-court or three-quarter, we’re going to press.”
Smithville’s ball-handling problems and its lead continued in the second half. While the Lady Seminoles struggled offensively, their defense kept them around.
The Lady Seminoles led until Smith converted a three-point play with 3:55 left in the game, putting the Lady Yellow Jackets (21-10) ahead 22-21. Smithville regained the lead at the 1:58 mark on two free throws by Talishia Wallace, but Enterprise answered with a pair of free throws on its next possession.
“They played great defense,” Vaughn said, “and our scouting report told us they would.”
But missed opportunities were haunting. Smithville went a stretch of almost 11 minutes, spanning the first and second quarters, without a field goal. In the final 2:57 the Lady Seminoles missed four opportunities to tie the game at the free throw line.
In the end another turnover snuffed the life out of Smithville when, down by three, a long pass up the court was just beyond the fingertips of Laura Saylors with 18 seconds left.
Blaylock led Smithville with eight points. Smith had 12 for Enterprise.
“We did not turn the ball over against their press that much, but we did not do the little things we had to do to win the game,” McKay said.
“This loss will hurt tonight, but this bunch will wake up tomorrow. We’ll start to think about the things we accomplished this year and feel proud.”